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Armstrong: Five thoughts on the Heat defence, Fisher and more

Jack Armstrong
6/11/2014 3:39:16 PM
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Five Quick Thoughts for a Wednesday:

1. KAWHI LEONARD & DANNY GREEN (Spurs): 44 points combined on 17-21 shooting in Game 3. Both were very assertive and set the tone in the first quarter.  Brilliant! When these guys are playing the two-way game, the Spurs are a force. Wow.

2. D-WADE & LEBRON (Heat):  Combined for 44 points but 12 turnovers combined is not going to cut it. Wade, in particular, was ineffective in the first half, leading to the Spurs' blow out. LeBron was terrific in the first and faded after that. They need lots more support, yet these guys are capable of being more impactful and in particular more efficient. Their sloppy/careless play fed the Spurs' rout. They need better than that.

3. DEREK FISHER (Knicks): Not surprised by his aftermath of Steve Kerr going to the Warriors. He'll have Phil Jackson's full support. Now it's about fixing the roster and figuring out Carmelo Anthony's status.  My one recommendation would be to hire experienced pro coaches who can help him in the transition from player to head coach. Phil Jackson was always smart to have veteran guys like Tex Winter and Johnny Bach with him. Job is tougher than it looks. Having older guys with lots of wisdom that aren't angling for your job really helps when times get tough. Need folks that tell you what you need to hear.     

4. BORIS DIAW (Spurs): Great move to start him in Game 3.  Tony Parker looks like he's playing hurt and doesn't have the same pop/burst in his game right now. Need more play making and a guy that moves the ball quickly to teammates. Diaw's numbers are respectable at nine points and five rebounds along with three assists, yet he had lots of 'Gretzky Passes' -- the critical pass that leads to THE pass (assist). He's a wonderful passer with off-the-charts basketball IQ and when you put him out there it's like having a second point guard on the floor.

5. HEAT DEFENCE:  Frist half was poor and overall giving up 111 points on 59 per cent shooting is a huge concern. Game 2 defense was sound but major slippage. Energy level was inept. Perimeter D and communication was surprisingly off kilter. Not typical of the Heat. Help and recovery and shot contests have to elevate. A shockingly poor performance for such a big stage. Lots to clean up. Ball pressure and compete level has to be back to form. Not as good a defensive team as past years yet not this bad. Expect to see much more focused group on Thursday. If not, they're in huge trouble.  Pick it way up.




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